Friday, March 25, 2016

Flannel Nests for Spring Stories

Time to make the nest...

Nest building began and ended in our YOGA for 2 - Mindful Movement program but found it's way into Prime Time with Piper and Saturday Pop-up Art as well.  Seemed that adults and children enjoyed this craft.  Perhaps it was the challenge of making something beautiful from a mess.  Organization from chaos always appeals to me.

Our supplies: random card stock, strips of old book pages, ancient color-aid paper (circa 1972  college days), glue sticks, a pattern for bird, pencils, scissors.

We started with a flannel board story from the book In My Nest by Sara Gillingham  We talked about all the things we'd need to make a nest for a baby bird...a warm safe spot, twigs and leaves. We discussed the need for mud to hold it together and the feathers to make it soft.  We thought about layers on top of layers to make it comfortable and pretty and to protect the family.

Sharing stories mindfully allows for science, nature, imagination, caring and heartfelt moments.  Everything moves in a gentler way.  Children have crafting freedom although sometimes moms have the scissors.  Mindfully safe!

Nesting in early spring brings new and joyful moments.  Be good at nesting!  That's what I share with the children.  Rest, feel your feelings, cuddle, be safe.  We have gratitude beads in YOGA for 2 and this week I heard, "I am grateful for green lima beans" and "pink lollipops"  So much to be grateful for...does a heart good!

Mama built a little nest written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Steve Jenkins is a stunningly beautiful book with sidebars on how the nests are built.  I adore science facts.  This will satisfy your nature-child.

Piper selected Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard for Prime Time with Piper because she loves being silly.  It's excellent for experimenting on how to change your mood and a great shout out for supportive friends.  Piper is both silly and smart.  Love my girl.

Once during each 6-week session of YOGA for 2 we make a gratitude bracelet.  We mindfully select beads to represent things we are thankful for.  
This week after our families went home to their warm and safe nests Piper and I sat down to make my bracelet.  My colors are for Belgium.  I am grateful for their love and courage in these days of loss and suffering.  I will wear them on my wrist and carry them in my heart.

I am always grateful for Flannel Friday.  If you would like information on joining and participating please visit our nest!

For more on Mindfulness in Storytime, click here.
The original post for In My Nest is here 

P.S.(Piper Script) We love bird watching, do you?


Friday, March 18, 2016

FableVision Studio/Jane's Bucket List - Check!

FableVision * Create Bravely

In January I visited FableVision.  You know that place...that creative studio place ...owned by authors/illustrators Peter Reynolds and Paul Reynolds.  Their amazing business, studio, think tank, tech space, library, gallery and ah, parlor!  Yeah, that place! I went there.  

Please visit their website FableVision Studio 

And check out Peter Reynolds too!

This incredibly creative duo inspire not only their little corner in New England but the whole world.  I'm beginning to think they leave a trail of glitter inspiration in their travels.   

Does this ever happen to you....when you get to a place you've really wanted to go feel as if you knew what it would be like all along?  I felt at home!  I belonged!  Why wouldn't I?  Look at this book shelf..

 ....friends and family can attest to this is how it looks at my house!  Colleagues tease me...maybe we can display little toys and pictures on the library shelves in front of the picture books.  I have a line up of rubber ducks!  I have a ladder!!  
The FableVision studio has a cute leather chair with an old hairdryer attached. This pink perfection dates from the days of actual Beauty Parlors...not Hair Salons!  I want to sit there with a sketch book while the hum of the hairdryer turns back time...and I can be a "creative" @ FableVision. As usual, I dream big.  It's one of my super powers!  (Don't get me wrong...I am the president of the #Ilovemyjob club!)

What is my journey to #1 fangirl of FableVision story?  Illustrations!  I fell in love with Peter Reynold's illustrations ages ago.  And then, well, his book, The Dot, took it over the top! I mean "we" weren't trending or anything but there was ....some..twitter activity because I tweeted my blog about International Dot Day.

 I've worked in Children's Services in Public and School Libraries for over 28 years.  I'm good with books!  I enjoy meeting authors and illustrators.  And finally, there I was in the studio with about 75 others and the Reynolds brothers!  It was delightful.  Being true to me, I took some pictures.  It's not what most do at a cocktail reception but hey...taking pictures inspires  me to...

 And there it was, on the glass...this poster just calling to me.  Create Bravely, Jane!  Be curious, share, laugh, paint, write, love your family, be kind and yes, always...Create Bravely.  It's like they knew I was coming...well, actually they did!  That's my story!

The event at the FableVision Studio was all about celebrating the recently announced MASS Book Awards.  Authors and their books were honored.  It was also a celebration of 10 years for Fablevision (visit for free fun stuff) and demonstrating their very own super powers the Reynolds brothers brought love, joy and family together to wish happy birthday to their sister, Jane!  Everyone was included in the joy of a family party.  Well done gentlemen.  (and I love your sister's name!)

Children's services will always keep us on our toes with change and growth.  So much to learn, so many people make decisions for us. Sometimes we forget to keep that inner creativity or confidence alive during the challenges.  There are times that I can not let a library book off my desk.  Much like the 3 yr old who would like to hear the same book each night for two weeks I need to keep the book close because it satisfies a need.  Over time I've recognized that these books are providing inspiration to me, inner peace for me, a smile for me.  When times get tough, I grab a picture book and almost shout, "MINE"  "MY BOOK"  
Books written and/or illustrated by Peter Reynolds are frequently on my desk.  Just one at a time.  They make me feel better about this whole big giant world.  

Connect the dots with Peter and Paul Reynolds. Follow the blogs for inspiration.  I hope you have their beautiful books in your library collection.    

Now, see this little person ...I've been drawing a very similar little person for 34 years.  You can tell by the feet, the nose and the hair!   My sister, Dorothy, will tell you #truth.  My heart jumped when I walked into the studio and I knew, for sure,  I was right where I was supposed to be.  My thanks to the Reynolds brothers.

P.S. (Piper Script) Find the beautiful, the kind, the it in your heart and share!  

P.P.S. The brothers are twins, identical twins, and they celebrated their birthday this week.  I didn't know that when I started this post!  Happy Birthday! Connections...what can I say?!

Things we did with The Dot on the flannel board!

Thank you Anne at So Tomorrow for hosting Flannel Friday this week. To learn more about how to participate in the Flannel Friday community, visit their website.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Children's Services and National Library Week

How to bring the fun for 
National Library Week 2016

Looking to step up your game for National Library Week in the Children's Department?  Let's be honest here - most patrons do not pay any attention to National Library Week.  Sad but true.  We're tootin' our own horns and our patrons are like..."hey, we already love our library ...what's the big deal?  Libraries schedule authors and host special events during this week - but we do that all the time. Dare I repeat...what's the big deal?  People don't really get the...Heeeere's...National Library dum tish "feel"!

Well, despite several failed attempts in the past to make this a stand-out week in Children's Services...this year I'm going goofy. No big promo, no big energy, no hours of prep...just goofy with a camera, cell phones, some friends and a very funny twist.  Thanks to Jimmy Fallon.
Here's a little song to intro my plan... "Sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away.  On my way to where the air is sweet..Can you tell me how to get... how to get to......" Sesame friends connect with all the little kids and all the big kids, aka adults, so let's go for it! 

I went online and filled my Amazon shopping cart with a 5' tall Big Bird Wall Decal, 2 twenty inch tall fluffy stuffed animals, (Elmo and Cookie Monster), a whole bunch of Sesame Street stickers, and 4 Sesame Street books .  

Get Caught Reading - you've all heard of that.  Take pictures of families, children, teens, tweens, staff, EVERYONE reading and post them...all over social media!  But we have a twist...yes we do! Our photos will be photobombed by the Sesame Street Characters!  yep yep yep yep yep yep yep!  Well not those yepping Sesame Street martians.... but Big Bird and Elmo and Cookie Monster! I can't wait.

 Now you can do this too!  Here are some of the finer details:

Details: I will place the Big Bird Decal on a piece of foam core board and I will cut around him so he stands out as well as stands up.  He is big enough for me to hide my arms will hold Cookie and Elmo behind the unsuspecting and ever so sweet reading pair!

Take a look at Jimmy Fallon and his Sesame Street friends.  Love this so much.

We have a blue loveseat in our children's area and we'll direct our families to sit there for their "Get Caught Reading" photo op. Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Elmo will be hiding in the stacks behind this love seat.  Once our reading pair gets to reading...we'll use their cell phone to take their photos and the Sesame characters will secretly step into the background.  Photobombed!  Just wait til they see it.  Fun! We'll click pictures with our cameras too.  

Remember to provide your patron with a hashtag to use on FB and Twitter.  (Don't know what we'll use yet)  

Libraries Transform is the National Theme.  Libraries transform because we build and support an all inclusive community.  

The ever-familiar faces of Sesame Street will bring love and laughter to our little branch in April.  Elmo and Cookie Monster will help our Children's Service make a home run connection to family life in a neighborhood where 68 languages are spoken.   #librariestransform  Now's the time to toot your own horn! 

 P.S. (Piper Script)  Visit ALA and let them know what you and your staff are doing for National Library Week April 10 - 16, 2016.  Have fun!  Be joyful.  Be kind.  Comment!

Friday, March 4, 2016

To Grace Lin and Flannel Friday with Love

Borrowing from Oprah, an A-ha moment

Why I do what I do?  Like so many of list is kids, love books, creative soul, literacy advocate... The good news is that I am mostly passionate about everything I do.  One of the lucky ones...a loving family, lifelong friendships, I know my strengths, I've worked in children's librarianship for 28 years, I volunteer with an amazing national non-profit.  My professional friendships are vast and varied.  The professional organizations I belong to inspire me.  Life is good.  Amen to that, humble pie and a healthy sense of humor!

Recently, Sarah Lynch, Wolcott School librarian extraordiniare invited me to attend author/illustrator Grace Lin's presentation.  And here...sitting behind the second grade students I experienced a moment, a message, an clearly meant for me that my heart filled with gratefulness.  An A-ha moment and I recognized it.

Already of fan of Ms Lin's work I was prepared to enjoy myself.  Grace Lin's presentation began and ended with the word IDEA.  I adored the complete full circle of her style and message.  She told me, and the entire second grade, we needed a-take-everywhere-IDEA-book.  Not a new concept but it was the absolute best delivery. Perhaps I am a second grader at heart!  She kept everyone involved in her presentation in a very creative, curious way.   She is now my personal rock-star on how to present...anything and preschoolers, families, colleagues...the world! (I do tend to think big)  And now I have a fancy idea book to take on my worldly travels. I picked it up at Michaels that very day.  It is exactly what I need as my life moves on. 

During Grace Lin's presentation she taught everyone to draw the dog from her book the Year of the Dog.  I had the chance to meet her, she signed this drawing and I brought it to my little library because I had an idea!!!  A Saturday pop-up craft and a book display featuring Grace Lin's work.

It's always rewarding to join hands: school library and town library.  The children are so excited to be the expert on a display like this in the public library.  They get to show, tell and demonstrate for their parents.  Very cool.  Write that down in the Idea Book, really!  Thank you Sarah Lynch and Wolcott Elementary School for making Faxon shine!
Grace Lin is an artist of the most generous sort.  She has a facebook page, a twitter handle @pacylin and a newsletter GraceNotes - sign up for this, you'll be happy you did.  (if you can't sign up now write it down in your IDEA book! I mean it)
Why I do what I do? Giving and receiving are big parts of why I maintain this blog and my Flannel Friday participation.  The other day FF member, Sharon Lawrence Hrycewicz posted on FB "how long have you been involved?" I joined just about 4 years ago following a very similar A-ha moment.  My colleague Kari Ann and I discovered Mel's Desk and Storytime Katie while looking for flannel inspiration. Needless to say - jackpot!  And a perfect place to share IDEAS.
Flannel Friday is about to celebrate 5 years! Oddly enough I feel like I have been with them for much longer than my 4years.  I suppose that is a sign of a good fit.  Good people, good work...good brings good. 
I made flannel cupcakes here - please take a look.  Easy no-bake recipe!  Celebrate!
Thank you Grace Lin and thank you Melissa Depper.  You inspire curiosity, creativity and ideas.
Namaste ~ jane & piper 

Update 3.20.16  Grace Lin's Ted Talk posted last week and I thought I should add it here.  Please click